Published On: Wed, Oct 11th, 2017

Taiwan Bank hacking Litro boss remanded

A Colombo Magistrate yesterday ordered Litro Gas Lanka Chairman Shalila Moonesinghe to be remanded until today, when he was produced in Court by Police. On Monday evening the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) arrested Moonesinghe on charges of transferring a sum of US$ 1.3 million from Taiwan’s Far Eastern Bank to an account in Bank of Ceylon.

Moonesinghe, who was appointed to the post by former Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake, was arrested for allegedly helping international criminals, who hacked into computers at a Taiwan bank and stole millions of dollars.

At a press conference in Colombo yesterday, JVP MP Anura Kumara Dissanayaka described Moonesinghe as “a close associate” of Karunanayake.

He was questioned by the CID for more than 20 hours, the interrogation commenced on Monday evening and concluded yesterday afternoon, where upon he was produced at the Fort Magistrate’s Court, Police Spokesman ASP Ruwan Gunasekera said.

Moonesinghe and another person were arrested after they tried to withdraw large sums of money that had been wired to their accounts with a Sri Lankan bank branch in Colombo; AFP quoted an un-named official as saying.

“We are looking at some $1.3 million US dollars that had come into three accounts in Sri Lanka,” the official told AFP.

That comes to around Rs 199.47 million in yesterday’s exchange rate.

“We have taken two people into custody and we are looking for one more person.”

According to local and regional news reports last week, Far Eastern International Bank of Taiwan was hacked with a computer virus and a sum of US$ 60 million was wired to several personal accounts in Sri Lanka, Cambodia, and the US.

Reports also stated that the Taiwan Police had recovered most of the money with the help of counterparts in other countries. Litro Gas Lanka Limited issued a press communiqué yesterday (10) indicating that the company did not have any connection to or knowledge of the alleged embezzlement which its Chairman Moonesinghe had been accused of.

The press communiqué read: “In our capacity as a State-owned entity, Litro Gas Lanka complies with the stringent regulatory framework expected of a business operation while adhering to a highly structured check-and-balance system of a corporate entity managed by a professional board-of-management. From a business perspective Litro Gas Lanka is committed to conducting ethical business operation through serving the Sri Lankan consumers in providing a cost efficient and healthy fuel source whilst delivering excellent value to all our stakeholders. Litro Gas Lanka is one of the biggest State-owned contributors to the national economy through dividend payments during the past two years.”

In the Taiwanese capital Taipei the Financial Regulatory Commission confirmed that the local Far Eastern International Bank’s SWIFT system had been hacked through a computer virus but gave no details.

Taiwanese media quoted the bank as saying that it detected irregularities in its SWIFT system and there were suspicious transactions starting Thursday to Sri Lanka, Cambodia and the United States.

However, Taiwan Police have recovered most of the money with the help of counterparts in other countries, the reports said.
Bank officials were not immediately available for comment.

Sri Lankan Police investigated a similar theft in February last year when hackers broke into the computer system of the Bangladesh Central Bank and transferred US$ 20 million of stolen money to a Sri Lankan businesswoman.

The money was recovered and a Court investigation is pending.- –

– Ceylon Today

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